USF Bulls Beat: Fernandez brings success to women’s hoops
TAMPA - In his 13th season with the University of South Florida Bulls, women’s basketball coach Jose Fernandez has produced his ninth postseason berth in the past 10 years. The No. 10-seeded Bulls (21-10), making the second NCAA tournament appearance in program history, travel to No. 7 Texas Tech (21-10) for Saturday night’s opening-round game. “Coach Jose, he has built something really good here,’’ USF senior guard Andrell Smith said. With all that success – and a team that is clearly the best part of a largely disappointing year for USF athletics – it’s baffling to think Fernandez’s contract expires June 30. Don’t worry about that, USF athletic director Doug Woolard said.“Absolutely,’’ Woolard said, when asked if a contract extension was upcoming for Fernandez. “He’s our coach.’’ USF women’s basketball in the NCAA tournament? When Fernandez took over the program during the 2000-01 season, such a concept was unthinkable. But the Bulls are rolling now – and the future looks brighter than ever. Fernandez will receive a $10,000 incentive bonus for the NCAA bid. Overall, his base salary is $150,000. He gets $75,000 in supplemental income and is due a $50,000 “longevity bonus’’ on June 30. “The program was at a spot where it needed a lot of help,’’ Woolard said. “He has developed it, consistently going to the postseason. “He really understands how important recruiting is. Not only that, but he has played a style that the fans really enjoy and he has found the players who can play that style.’’ After a 3-9 football season that prompted the firing of Skip Holtz and a 12-19 men’s basketball season that fell way below expectations after last season’s NCAA bid, USF needed a feel-good story. As Fernandez spoke about the NCAA bid Monday night during a public watch party at the Sun Dome, he addressed USF president Judy Genshaft and said, “Thank you for giving me the opportunity to coach here.’’ Looks like that will continue – as well it should. Defensive coordinator Chuck Bresnahan, a long-time NFL assistant who was defensive coordinator with the Oakland Raiders and Cincinnati Bengals, will be paid an annual salary of $350,000. Bresnahan, who has a two-year contract, is the highest-paid assistant in USF football program history. All of Willie Taggart’s other assistants agreed to one-year contracts, which expire on Dec. 31. They include offensive coordinator Walt Wells ($210,000), associate head coach/defensive backs Ron Cooper ($210,000), linebackers coach Raymond Woodie ($200,000), defensive line coach Eric Mathies ($165,000), quarterbacks coach Nick Sheridan ($165,000), receivers coach David Reaves ($150,000), running backs coach Telly Lockette ($140,000) and special-teams coordinator Stu Holt ($130,000). Other support staff includes director of player personnel Paul Gonnella ($80,000), director of operations Sharrod Everett ($80,000), assistant director of operations Trae Hackett ($45,000) and director of player development Marquel Blackwell ($40,000). Women’s basketball player Andrea Smith was selected for WBCA Division I Coaches All-Region team, making her eligible for All-America honors. …Ken Eriksen’s softball team (21-10) took a 15-game winning streak into Wednesday night’s home game against Dartmouth. That streak included five straight shutouts by USF pitching. …After a weekend sweep of Florida A&M, Lelo Prado’s baseball team (10-11) failed to climb over the .500 mark in Tuesday’s 6-2 loss at Bethune-Cookman. USF begins Big East play Friday night at home against Cincinnati.